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Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.
"Chance – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.
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What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".
Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
• • • •
What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
• • • • • • •
What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
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Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
• • • • •
What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
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I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.
• • •
I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.
• • •
One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.
• • •
Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction
Discover Yourself and Your Purpose
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.
you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. development. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. and using. and reinvention. Once unmasked. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. Exploring Your Talents First of all. In fact. consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed. How Do I Get Hired? 1. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. What Do I Want to Do? 3. Who Am I? 2. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . is a journey. defenses. and stresses of everyday life. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. growth.firstly asking you to explore your talents. that is finding career direction. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start.
Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. and avoid the things that . and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful. and as you identify possible careers. it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. Personality Inventories Next. Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions. There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. Rank these in order. While no personality type is good or bad. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". Tip: If you're having problems choosing. That said. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions. however considering the importance of what you're doing. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order. Influence. One trick is to turn things around. think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers.7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. DISC (Dominance. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so.
Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. You choose to react one way over another. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. The talents you achieve most with. Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. In psychological terms.8 frustrate and demotivate you. many different people could perform well in these situations. be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . and your way of seeing the world. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. The activities you get most satisfaction from. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. Tip: When you're doing this. and this gives you little information. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure. 2. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do. After all.after all. and you'll probably underachieve. As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. the next stage is to think about what you want to do. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. or to prefer one thing to another. and where others didn't. . If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. your beliefs.
extend out and brainstorm the other options available.assessment. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing. ii.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up. a radical career change may be the best thing. industry and profession. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types. and can only cope with the major career types.com http://www.. On the other hand. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement.self-directed-search. Because of this. who may be much younger than you. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way. Using the test results as a starting point. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters. .. Useful ones are: Free. they can't recommend new careers. nor do they know about less well-known careers.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue. Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company. Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed. Once you've done this. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding.9 i. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive.com iii.
Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. • • • • • • • • • . Attending professional and trade shows. job pay levels. Yes. who the major players in it are. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. if you're having trouble prioritizing. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. v. Volunteering. Pulling This Together. and what the issues and problems within it are. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. this is quite tedious. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews. Visiting company websites. We're not asking you to choose one now. But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you.org. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet. Understanding where organizations are based. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. and perhaps to move.10 iv. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. etc. so that you can understand industry trends. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. qualifications needed. Career research is not something many people relish. Participating in job fairs. Also. job availability.
What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. or a whole host of other distractions. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. you may have rejected several possible careers.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. faster. What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass. Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. • These are your short term goals. a job that sounds really glamorous. Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want.11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose. what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode. in order to get there. 3. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road. now you need to actually map your progress. the better the job .
you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. Learning is replaced with routine. You are feeling unappreciated. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. whatever the industry or the job title. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. artistic people would be . The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. For example. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. You are no longer having fun. Likewise. You are suffering from stress or depression. You know when you are in a job you like. if you’re a science person. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking. The effort however. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results.12 that you'll be able to choose. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. the career that you are meant for will materialize. Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you.
Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. precise. Value scientific endeavors. curious. Common traits: • Hard-headed. However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. inflexible. and status. 2. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1. but often lack leadership skills. . Common traits: • Analytical.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. Avoid activities that seem mundane. tools. persistent. intellectual. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. pessimistic. those that need interaction with other people. but may not be good with people. practical. or which demands a lot of number crunching. Value concrete and tangible things like . and reserved. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. and machines. or enjoy working with objects. and genuine. materialistic. In a perfect world. power. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. Avoid "social" activities.money. commercial or "enterprising". we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented. Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent.
Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. and organizing written or numerical data. tactful. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. filing. ambitious. emphatic. Conventional people . complicated . introspective. popular. patient. Conventional (C): 6. understanding and able to teach others. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. 4. Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. adventurous. Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. sociable. sensitive. Common traits: • Idealistic. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. reproducing materials. 5. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. curing and enlightening others. but may lack scientific ability. and cooperative. Value political and economic achievement. Common traits: • Extroverted. impractical and nonconformist. and enjoy using materials to create art. developing. Value aesthetics. persuasive. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. great leaders and speakers. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities.14 3. and exhibitionistic. Common traits: • Generous. Value social activities. optimistic. training. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. record keeping.
below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. things. inflexible. Common traits: • Efficient. Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities. ESA). . practical. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices. defensive. This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. and ideas. This gives their Holland's code (for example. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. Value business and economic achievement. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying.15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. data. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. For example. and methodical. conscientious.
and so on. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched. ask yourself. you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. not who we really are. To shape your job. family. entertainment. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. Here again. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. To find your ideal career according to this approach.16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. One strategy to deal with this is to . For instance. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. use our complete process. There are many of these. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. However. one costs US$9. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. "How would my spouse. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. These are more Artistic responsibilities. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. just complete steps i and ii below. (If so.
) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment. If you're thinking about your career. . time limited goal. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas. and do well. Likewise. and set realistic goals to change things.17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. In particular. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific. look at our Life Plan Workbook. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. and set the goals that will lead you there.
He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. using skills that you already have. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. Decide what you want to change. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. Practically any job can be crafted. you can play to your strengths. So. has a particular flair for graphic design. improving both satisfaction and performance. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. though. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. 4. Rebecca. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. however. or using your knowledge to change working methods. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. Her successor. (If you're not sure what your strengths are. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. In short. Overall. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. and you can start whenever you want. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. Stephen. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. 3. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work. By subtly redesigning your job like this. How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". they've both been really good performers. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. Act to put positive change in place. adjust and continue. Check on progress.18 The previous post-holder. at least to some extent. did a great job. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. follow these steps: 1. 2. using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. so that you can generate better results.) .
you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. or a boost to your own self-esteem. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. Here. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. and the organization as a whole. For more on this. For example. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. go back to Step 1. • Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. but the overall impact may well be negative. or more interaction with people from other departments. you should take into account your clients. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. For example. In our example. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system. For example. If this isn't the case. your colleagues.19 • Relationships: Here. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel". read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. more effective workforce. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. your supervisor or manager.
it's time to put your job crafting into practice. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. . In job crafting. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. 2 and 3 above. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1.20 Also. After all. When you have a number of other people to supervise. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. managerial input or approval before you start. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. within your recrafted job. in itself. lead to career enhancement opportunities. What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. check that it gives you what you want. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. But don't wait for. and you feel good about what's happening. as mentioned in Step 2. And of course. and you decide to make the necessary changes. nothing will come of it. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. By refocusing your job in this way. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. or expect. If everything checks out. if you have any managerial responsibilities. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. you can let your changes become a habit.
compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. you make sure they become a habit. and so find out what might also work for you. you put the changes into practice. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here. Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. so that it suits you better. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future. having checked they're having a positive effect. you look for a win-win solution. will your job even exist in its present form in five years. you may uncover some interesting ideas. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. in order to change aspects of your current job. Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. and then. what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. increasing enjoyment.
and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. skills and experience. Toyota and Mars. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. Your specific technical skills may get out of date. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. If you're in a highly technical field of work. It can pay off for some. specialization is no longer the route of choice. Develop cross-functional skills. If you're early in your career. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. And remember. what you are doing now. A broad range of competencies. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. however. And yes. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. Along with technical skills. innovation. your kit may need to adapt as well. Monitor and track your progress. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. communication. . Force yourself to keep your technical skills current.) When you work for this kind of company. do it. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. Develop your competencies. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. as your own circumstances change. Get and remain tech-savvy. Leadership. Otherwise. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. it is critically important to continue your professional development.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. or in addition to. To maximize your chances of success. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing.
• • • • Collect business cards. When you add a mentor or two to your network. Your co-workers. The more experience you get. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. Join professional networking associations. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. • • • • • Track your duties. Build and maintain a professional network. No one can accurately predict the future. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. Learning another language.23 "Think global. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. Asking for assignments that require international exposure. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain. Note your volunteer work. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. your profession and the industry you are in. When you have a ready list of things you have done. however stay ahead of the crowd . the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. Create and maintain a success journal. Employers want to know what you will do for them. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. Scan the environment. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in." In many industries. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. List the training you've completed. projects and results. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future.
and choosing to work in industries . Develop realistic and achievable goals. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. Because the future is uncertain.that have long-term sustainability. you can take control of your future career . Develop resilience. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry . you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path. however. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career. • • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis.or career-change.24 by keeping yourself informed. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. failure to achieve your potential. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide.and for employers . People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. You need to become good at both to secure your future career. For many. However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. Keep a clear career path open. however hard you work. This will lead to frustration. Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. in the long term. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow. It is better to prepare now. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. this will not be the case.if you're good at what you do. even if it means a job. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. boredom and. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. Back your hunches and analysis with action. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. and development may be blocked. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this. you will eventually have to leave. Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall. To learn more about resiliency. With some forethought and planning.
without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications. for many people. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. But you fear you may not get the opportunity. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work.25 today. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months. you can show initiative. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications. But you currently have no management experience. you've got some useful skills. you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. What can you do? Well.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. Sure. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization .even if they are not directly related to your current job. In this article. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams. So. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere. Volunteer This may come as a surprise. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. You've always wanted to work in management. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. This is something you feel passionate about. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or .
You can write a few articles in your spare time. and to build up your portfolio. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. and the good impression you'll make. or reimburse you for outside classes. The company might offer training seminars. Well. These skills are highly valued in the business world.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting.26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. fundraising. Although you may not see immediate results. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist. then applying for a related position. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. depending on the new company or position. then consider volunteering for community organizations. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. writing. and more. marketing. you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. Eventually. Many nonprofits . As well as learning new skills. project management. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. budgeting. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. The important thing is to see your name in print. you could make the transition to full-time journalist. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. And. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. in the long term. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. When it's time to apply for that management position. However. you won't get paid for it). it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. as a volunteer. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. . can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. if you really want to make a career change. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. You're a good writer.
and so on. then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. however. accounting and finance. workshops might offer several different lectures. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. For example.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. Executive-level workshops can be expensive. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. you attend class at the time and place of your choice .27 However. personnel development. if you want to become a medical doctor. often use lectures from several different experts . . a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor. Asking Questions and Telling Stories. marketing. This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time. in the evenings. For example. And. Instead of a traditional management class. Executive-level workshops. for example).than a traditional school. or on weekends. so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management.on your lunch hour. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class).plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. you may have to use your vacation time. With distance learning. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program. each exploring a different area of relationship building. These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week. which may have only one lecture on building relationships. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus.and at a much lower cost . because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). you can often complete a qualification in less time . You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building. but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé. business management. Skills like project management.
28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé. 2. Where possible. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead.. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want. 4. Apply This to Your Life 1. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. to choose one's way. our article on Finding Career Direction could help. If that's not practical.. Consider where your next career move will be. 3. but prove to them that you really do care about the job. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. If you're still not sure. 'Man's Search for Meaning' . It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. If you can gain those new skills within your organization. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. – Viktor Frankl. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. This will strengthen your qualifications. you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job. Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings.
compassion. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. or unable to move forward in some way. As the above quote shows. So. In your personal life.29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. After all. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. You know. Worry/nervousness. but it's even more important for you to do so. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded. a boss who is too .. feelings of joy. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly. excitement. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while.. and work well under pressure. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. But at work. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped. and department changes. you're always free to choose how you react to it. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. staff layoffs. how can you become better at handling your emotions. if management is forced into making more layoffs. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. Dislike. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. no matter what the situation is. Disappointment/unhappiness. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project. when a customer snaps at you unfairly. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. as well as your productivity. After all. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. Anger/aggravation.
if you allow it. Write it down. but also your productivity. Do this at least five times. such as anger. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. Whatever the reason. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. For more on this. and look at the situation. When it's people who are causing your frustration. and that isn't good for anyone. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. that probably won't help you keep your job. you could use this time to relax a little. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. then you have more time to prepare. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. For instance. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time. just move on. But this worry can easily get out of control. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. and your willingness to take risks at work. and be specific. Focus on your breathing. Instead. • • . and this can impact not only your mental health. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. Or. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. and nothing else. if your boss is late for your meeting. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. and you sit there and worry.
Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. no matter what. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business. you can choose how you react in a situation. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes. But it's important to be professional. if you're about to shout at your co-worker. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. knowing that you'll deal with them. imagine how you would look. and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier.' and then schedule a time to deal with them. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. you can forget about these worries. When you're worried and nervous about something. Also. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. so learn to recognize them when they begin. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. it gives you some perspective on the situation. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . If you start to get angry. Stopping your anger early is key. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. Before that time. it can dent your self-confidence. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. For instance. This interrupts your angry thoughts. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. Remember. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen.
forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. delay the deadline. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. Remember. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. Remember. set the example. and calmly leave the situation. Keep the goal. these are the most likely to impact your productivity. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult.') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. . If they did. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. you always have the power to change your situation. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. that doesn't mean you should as well. as you would treat anyone else. ups and downs. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. After all. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal. Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. you might be afraid to take another risk. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. negative emotions can spread. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. but make a small change – for example. your energy will probably be low. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem.
and that may move you forward too. When those emotions begin to appear. and stretching yourself beyond your current role. If I promote you. why should I promote you? Clearly. Organizations move forward by solving problems. producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be. immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. can lead to a new job with more responsibility.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't.33 Know what causes your negative emotions. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions .in your pursuit of a promotion. that you've been in the same position for three years while others . Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion. But going beyond what's expected. Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day. Think about it.seemingly lessdeserving people . and that you're ready to take on new ones. Why is it. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements. Now. Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? . my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. then. You may even do your job exceptionally well. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. and which types of feelings you face most often. remember . If you're busy working away. The longer you wait. your value to the company is your efficiency. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities.it means doing more of the RIGHT things. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things .
gain experience in other areas of the company. managers are given responsibility for something. You'll expand your range of experience. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization.to similar positions in different departments . Expand your skill set.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. and stay current in your field. to learn and practice other skills. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. For example. while also demonstrating individual competence. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role.34 You may even want to make lateral moves . Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. To gain access to them. Think about cost versus benefit. look for opportunities to lead projects. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible. Increase Your Responsibility Typically. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. and you'll make your boss's job easier . When you have questions for your boss. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. Then. come prepared with solutions as well. you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. review bottom-line results. Also. and make sure you acquire these.it's a win-win! . you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education. Determine what you need to learn to add more value. This involves working well as part of a team. If your exposure is broader. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. perhaps by reading the industry press. and make a plan to acquire those skills. Get up-to-date. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. For example.
This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. Look for a mentor within the organization. Take note of who your internal competition might be . you'll probably end up disappointed.it's often adding something of value as well. Find out what they did to get where they are. Look for things that aren't being done at all. find ways to work around them. and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. Set your goal. If you rely on someone else to make it happen. The more you learn from other people's experiences. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss. Set Promotion Goals Ultimately. Put forward your ideas. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. the better.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better.others in your company who may want the same position you want . If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. always think about how to do things better. and who might champion your ideas. . and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate. and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. How can you do something cheaper. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals. Rather than accept things as they are. When you run into obstacles. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation. Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. even if you aren't sure of the response. is a great benefit. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization. think how you can improve them .and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. Understand the big picture. Having someone to talk to. Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . faster. Evaluate your strengths.
Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. and even being the best at what you do. though. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. Understand what drives your company's success. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. As you execute your promotion plan. Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you.36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. take on more of the right responsibilities. Simply doing what's expected of you. If you aren't ready yet. expand your skill set. By being proactive. Network with people in the company. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. Using your knowledge of the organization. you can create the path to the position that you want. Get the Recognition You Deserve . and communicate your promotion goals to others. That won't guarantee a promotion. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need. are not guarantees of advancement. and then proactively work to achieve it. Let people know what you want. To prepare for promotion. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. increase your value to the organization.
We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. and you don't point it out to him or her.37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. Beside each one. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. and as a result. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. However. at least once in a while. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. because everyone wants something different. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. if you're a bit nervous.and to top it all off. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. but also share credit where credit is due. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. There are many types of recognition. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. and never show up late . That includes you. people often just want simple praise. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. there is a way to do this. So. or bonuses. never miss deadlines. or a cold. Then. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. Be sure to make yourself look good. Why? Firstly. you might forget something important that you've done. so decide what type you want. You'd think that by doing all of this. it would seem odd. you wish. Unfortunately. . Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards. certificates. you would. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. Believe it or not. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. hard check doesn't always communicate that.
not-too-obvious way. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions . and you may look bad. Keep the focus off yourself. then people may notice. If so. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. however. send your boss an email every time you win a new account. and you don't even realize it. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. As you talk.he or she may be praising you. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. For example. so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working. You can also praise others in front of your boss. If you have something good to say. Keep it genuine and honest. then do it carefully and tactfully . but this kind of trust is also a compliment. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. You know your boss and your business environment. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. Yes. • . By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. If this feels a little too much like bragging. then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. then say it.in a private area. If you appear insincere. Before you get upset. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. In your work environment. For example. If you tell your boss directly. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work.
Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better. your boss has to know what you've already done. and send copies to your boss. and they're not working for the government. send them emails praising their efforts. If you notice co-workers doing something great.or even one job . having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable . you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs .and to do that. If you're a team leader. If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . and consider copying that email to his or her boss.in their lives. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. When you recognize the efforts of your team. If so. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up." send that person an email and copy it to your boss.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments. keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others. and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. This can show your boss that you're leading by example. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. they're likely to be older than 50. sending emails about small accomplishments.
however. team management. and never having a reason to fear layoffs. Next. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. recession and even natural disaster. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. These days. so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . If you're a good worker with marketable skills. As a result of globalization. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful. We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. "job security" can seem like a thing of the past. your organizational skills (time management. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress.the "fear" of losing your job . develop your nontechnical skills as well. because you'll know you've done all you can. keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. So. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. It's impossible to know what the future will bring. So. In today's job market. They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. but you can control how you look at it. willingness to adapt to change.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. think "outside the box. be prepared. contracting. downsizing. the world is much different. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. For more information. outsourcing. and the chance to do something new. another one opens. and leadership). Your home life. Here." What else can you do . how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. never making the break to search for something better. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. the technical skills you need can change quickly. • • . and use this site to build solid career skills.40 pension." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. and keeping stress away. It can be an adventure. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. and your people skills.
By talking about your accomplishments. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. Skills like effective time management. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. So.41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. you ALWAYS have control. • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss. or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. and it's within your power to change it. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. This can create negativity and hurt morale. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). to a different department or even a different branch. so that you know what's going on in your field. Be PROactive instead of REactive. Remember. It's your life. allow everyone to voice their fears.no matter what job you're doing. have an open discussion. and you were forced to eliminate one position. leadership techniques. if you don't tell her. or what you're capable of doing. Take outside classes and read trade publications. Also. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. but don't let these fears dominate the group. Start learning about other departments. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. you keep him or her informed of your value. . Help another team member who's falling behind. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. make sure you give value to your company. and office organization can help you anywhere . Be willing to stay late to finish a project. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company." then take control and act. Look for lateral transfers within your company.
you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . And save some money. Key Points In today's business world. Focus on the positive. not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon).this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. If you do get laid off. This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career. and put yourself onto a new. Save at least three to six months of living expenses . Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. if work dries up in your area. living with job insecurity is a reality for many. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. remember that the world is full of opportunities. and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. When your résumé is current. you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). not on doubt and uncertainty. Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are.the job. if you are laid off. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive. your life is what you make of it! . and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light. even if it's not the right match. If you wait until the last minute.or losing . Remember. exciting path. Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job.42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress.
3. or in the same time frame. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. Sure. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. These are: 1. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. After all. Depression 5. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience. Anger. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. 2. You might skip a stage. the more you know. Denial. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. but then skip directly to acceptance. Let's look at the stages in more detail. it finally happened. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. Acceptance. • Stage One: Denial . simply because more stress is involved. Also. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. Bargaining 4. and think about what you can do to cope with each one.
In Kübler-Ross's original model. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. your company. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself. • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. After all. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. Talk with family and friends. this is likely to be more practical. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. or the economy in general. or seek counseling. • Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. This can be one of the most difficult stages. and make you feel worse. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. If your anger causes you to treat others badly. To cope. . your boss. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. use anger management techniques. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. or even a counselor. To cope with denial. and that you have to live with them. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. especially for the people around you. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. then you're in Stage One. if you've worked hard and "given your all". and even unjust or wrong things do happen. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming.44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. Hurting the people you love will push them away.
Remember. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected. You might offer to work part-time. and move on. learn from the experience. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated.45 For instance. You're grieving for your lost job. "Whenever one door closes. Helping others can be very healing. Or. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. forgive yourself. be aware of what you're doing. your job right now is to find another job. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. another one opens somewhere. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. or train any new hires that come through the door. as someone else also said. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean." But. You can call it fate or destiny. Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. . or reduced benefits. and it could give you a sense of control in your life. Bargaining is almost always futile. you might slip into a state of depression. if it was your fault. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. Put your energy into moving forward. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says. To cope with this stage. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about.
Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. There's no set time limit for any of these stages. or go through all five: everyone is different. incredible. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so. Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. if not impossible. for them to reach . It was very hard. you might skip some stages. Give yourself time to work through each stage. Talk about your emotions. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. and you're stronger because of it. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. bargaining. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. depression and acceptance. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals.yet. Again. do something productive. or if it was your fault. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . then seek help so you can move forward. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief. and keep moving forward. You're a talented. And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. you've learned from it. anger. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling. Traditionally. despite your best effort.
No matter how qualified or experienced. the glass ceiling is still very real. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. risk takers. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. indeed. Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers." However. If you do. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason. However. you have a choice. want to break through that glass. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers. Today. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see.47 upper management positions. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. . Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing. And it's not always limited to gender or race. here are some steps to take.
• Read everything you can about leadership styles. For example. and attributes. then monitor and measure your performance. no matter what job title you have. You never know who may be in a position to help you or . Start with the introduction to communication skills. skills. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. If you achieve that goal. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. because it probably won't be handed to you. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. Communication skills will help you. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model.48 To further clarify these ideas. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives. Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. You're responsible for determining your own career direction. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. Each of these is complex. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. set goals to get there. Be proactive and go after what you want. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen.
you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth. to be effective and actually make it to the top. biases and stereotypes. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations.49 provide you with valuable information. However. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. Expand your professional network outside of your organization. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company. Get involved with cross-functional teams. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . Past practices. Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. Read more about Professional Networking.
You want people to see your competence. those at the top can see down. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. watch for discriminatory behavior. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top. you need to champion and market yourself. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want. To do this. Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. Speak up and contribute in meetings. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation.50 and ideas on how to find one. Don't just accept frustration and failure. For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. and develop plans to change them. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. leadership abilities. Visibility is very important. Remember. technical knowledge. while you can see up. communication skills. Know that you're doing everything right. That means proactively managing every . Build Your Reputation Ultimately. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws.
they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it. your old boss is leaving.this is a sign of strength. You probably didn't plan for it. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. like it or not. and you may find new zones of opportunity. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. not weakness. and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want.51 step of your career. and. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder. but most people don't succeed all on their own. So. Ask for support and assistance . If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. a mentor. Apply some of the ideas in this article. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. now is the time to make one! Does your boss. and monitor your progress. hopefully. you might have to work harder than others. and potentially change the direction of your . a strong network. Yet. or anyone in your organization.
but doesn't. different policies. you are also new to your new boss. you're not facing reality. and prove yourself. There's a proper balance that you can find. Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). This person needs your help. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. Things will likely be different. but doesn't know . You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. a new boss will likely have different opinions. 2. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant. But you also need to know how and when to act. in this case. and you have to be supportive. is nothing. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do. So. during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. In this article. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. However. and even a different management style. This can lead to three possibilities: 1. so expect to change the way you work. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. In many ways. as well as which problems to avoid. However. so the boss may look to you for help. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period.
But your new boss may have a more general management background. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. because she did your job before you got there. (If you were competing for the job. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations. Even if your new boss knows what you do. If you do either of these. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. perhaps. Tip: Be helpful. Your new boss knows what you do. and sufficiently. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. Your goal is to educate tactfully. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. 3.53 it. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. On the other hand. this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. . considerately. and you have to work with this new person. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. Offer your help. but don't appear too eager. However. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. yourself). but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it.
• Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things. This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking . Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. but we've summarized some of the information here. but at least you'll know. individual preferences. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point.and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other.54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months.. Use common sense. Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. and mutual availability as your guiding factors. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • .. For example. but also figuring out who the key players are. and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. Now What? covers this in detail. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice.
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